M. Night Shyamalan: director, writer, ruiner-of-childhood-dreams. While many people know Shyamalan for his many theatrical accomplishments, a select few of us only know him in regards to his absolutely horrendous live-action film adaption of the Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The film was quickly a critical and commercial (though this is a source of contention at the moment) failure. For some context, it took $150 million to make it and, in the end, it only grossed just over $319 million worldwide. There are a myrdiad of reasons why the film sucked, including the caucasian actors cast as characters that were of different skin tones and ethnic origins, the mispronunciation of character’s names, the terrible special effects, the laughable dialogue, and the sub-par acting. Even thinking about them puts a bitter taste in my mouth.
Well, M. Night Shyamalan recently sat down with IGN to discuss his new FOX series, Wayward Pines. One way or another, The Last Airbender came up during the conversation and the director had a lot to say to defend his creative choices. Most of it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense and only confirms my suspicions that the man never even watched the show completely before writing the film’s script.
In case you want to hear some of his drivel, here’s some of what he had to say:
“It’s really weird because on the show the average age was, like, nine-years-old. My child was nine-years-old. So you could make it one of two ways. You could make it for that same audience, which is what I did — for nine and 10-year-olds — or you could do the Transformers version and have Megan Fox. I didn’t do that. That would have felt like, ‘Well, I’m going to make a movie about a kids show that my 10-year-old is watching and not make it for her. I make it for my guy friends.’ That felt like a betrayal of the innocence of the piece. In retrospect, is it too young to go out — it’s like what your intention is versus what they want it to be. Clearly, 10-year-olds — I go out and 10-year-olds are like, ‘That’s my favorite show! I love that movie!’ Parents come up to me and go, ‘They’ve watched The Last Airbender 74 times!’ Those kids, it’s for them. It was for them, to talk about mysticism and Eastern philosophies through a 10-year-old’s vernacular. So, you know, these are business propositions, which have very little interest to me, of like, ‘Hey, the business proposition is to get Megan Fox to be…’ You know, ‘You should age it ’til it’s that.’ That wasn’t the source material, you know what I mean? Whereas, also, like a Transformers, it’s really fascinating, because it’s valid for Transformers. You know why it’s valid? Because it’s the little boys that were playing with them are grown up now. They’re the ones who wanted to see Megan Fox. That’s absolutely appropriate, you know what I mean?”
So, yay? You ruined the film for your child too. He or she must be so proud. According to you, M. Night, making a movie for children means that it has to suck ass in order for them to appreciate it?
Even “Bryke” (Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino), the show’s creators, have commented that they choose to act as if the film was never made. Uh… That’s pretty much everything you need.
I mean, I choose not to believe what he’s saying because, as a die-hard fan of the series and its spin-off, The Legend of Korra, I was so disgusted at the lack of effort he seemed to put into the film. He chose to fool around with names and storylines and produce something that was actually less interesting than watching paint dry. Even to this day, he seems hell bent on refusing to acknowledge his shortcomings as the movie’s director, which only serves to increase the fire that burns within me.
Updated: This post has been lightly edited now that the internet has had a chance to weigh in.
What do you think of the M. Night Shyamalan’s comments about “The Last Airbender” movie?